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New York, NY — Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Refinery29 debuted a short film starring actor Mae Whitman and her mother Pat Musick about the importance of parent-child communication about sex and sexuality. The film portrays Mae and her mother discussing the open and honest conversations they had about sex as she was growing up, as well as how Planned Parenthood can help parents and teens start and continue these crucial conversations.

Numerous studies have shown that teens want to hear what their parents think and feel about sexuality and relationships, and a recent report in JAMA Pediatrics found that teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sexuality wait longer to start having sex and are more likely to use condoms and other birth control methods when they do become sexually active. 

The film is part of a partnership between Planned Parenthood and Refinery29 called Her Shorts, a series of short films told through a comedic or dramatic lens that focus on reproductive and sexual health issues.

You can watch the video here.

“We are thrilled to work with Refinery29 on the Her Shorts series – and so happy that Mae Whitman and her mother are stressing the need for ongoing conversations between young people and their parents about sex,” said Caren Spruch, senior advisor of arts and entertainment engagement at PPFA. “Communicating about sex and relationships is a good way for parents and teens to connect. When families are comfortable talking about relationships and sex, parents are better able to support their children and help them be safe and healthy.”

"We believe our audience is the generation that will be having open communication and conversations with their children about sex," said Refinery29 EVP of Programming, Amy Emmerich. "This is an important issue, and we hope that Mae and her mother's brave choice to share this intimate experience in this next episode of Her Shorts will push past the taboos that are often associated with this type of conversation.”

"Sex is complicated. It can become convoluted and scary when you don't have a place to communicate about it openly and honestly," said Her Shorts star and director, Mae Whitman. "I've always been a Planned Parenthood supporter, and Refinery29 is a place that is really cool, smart, and brave. Everybody has a story, and [through this video] I wanted to generate honest conversation."

There’s no right way to talk about sex and relationships. The important thing is to start and continue having these conversations. Rather than “the talk,” parents should think about communicating with their children in a series of ongoing conversations that reflect their child’s age and development.

“Planned Parenthood is committed to making sure that parents have the tools they need to help their children be safe and healthy," Spruch said.

Planned Parenthood offers resources, guidance, and encouragement to teens and parents who are unsure about how to talk about relationships and sex. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides education and outreach to 1.5 million people across the country, including young people and parents. Every day, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities to provide sex education, which both parents and teens overwhelmingly support.

For more information about ways to improve conversations about sex and to make an appointment at a health center near you, visit plannedparenthood.org.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


November 12, 2015